"The atmosphere is superb," says Mell McDonnell, director of marketing for the festival, which is known for showcasing up-and-coming actors.
Many experienced audience members come early to picnic on the green outside the amphitheater, where musicians often perform before the shows. Gourmet box suppers can be pre-ordered 48 hours in advance, or you can bring your own; beer and wine are permitted. Concession stands sell what's known as the Bard's own ale, along with non-alcoholic drinks. In addition to Taming of the Shrew, this year's festival will produce Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet; it will wrap up with Cymbeline on August 23. Most performances are in the amphitheater on the University of Colorado's Boulder campus (just east of Broadway and College); for those who prefer air-conditioning, there are some shows in the campus's renovated Mainstage Theatre. For information, call 303-492-0554. -- Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz